For the second year in a row, MLS teams will sweep the Under-15 and Under-17 Generation adidas Cup titles – and each of the 2023 trophies could be bound for Chester, Pennsylvania after Saturday’s semifinal tussles.
- Under-15 Final: Austin FC vs. Philadelphia Union, 12 pm ET
- Under-17 Final: FC Dallas vs. Philadelphia Union, 5 pm ET
Pre-tournament favorites Philadelphia Union, after knocking off international sides Arsenal and Real Madrid in past stages, survived another tough knockout challenge to advance.
Facing off against a quality attacking outfit in Orlando City SC, an early second-half goal from Nehan Hasan was enough in a 1-0 victory. There were some hairy moments: an Orlando goal was chalked off due to a whistle for a handball, then Union goalkeeper Alex Smith did well to claim a late free kick in the dying minutes.
But a deep Union side held on, putting them one match away from a chance at raising the prestigious Generation adidas Cup.
Austin FC await Philly after edging out the competition's final international side, Belgium’s KRC Genk, in a penalty shootout to reach the final. As has been the case all tournament, defense was the bedrock of the Verde & Black’s success.
It was an even match through the bulk of the action, with Austin FC goalkeeper Nicolas Aristizabal making a couple of key saves to keep it tied 0-0. Aristizabal then played the hero role during the shootout, saving two Genk spot kicks to clinch the club’s first-ever berth in a Generation adidas Cup final.
FC Dallas have long been the standard-bearer among MLS academies, and they needed penalty kicks (5-4) to advance after battling the Columbus Crew to a 2-2 draw on Saturday.
The Crew twice seized the lead, but Dallas mustered a response both times. Columbus winger Anthony Alaouieh opened the scoring in the 18th minute. A great pass from Cooper Flanary slipped Alaouieh in behind the FCD backline, and he obliged with an emphatic finish over goalkeeper Julian Eyestone.
Dallas grabbed their first equalizer from a set piece. Center back Gabriel Brandon steered home a low cross back into the six-yard box from Mikey Murphy in the 26th minute to tie the game at 1-1.
Alaouieh put the Crew back up by a goal with a back-post finish in the 41st minute. Nayrobi Vargas answered for FC Dallas the second time, wriggling free in the box in the 50th minute to head home from point-blank range.
That sent the game to penalty kicks, where Eyestone played the hero. With FC Dallas leading 5-4 in the fifth round, the goalkeeper dove to his right and saved the Crew’s attempt to secure progress.
Awaiting FC Dallas in the final will be the Philadelphia Union, who beat LAFC 2-1 in the other semifinal.
Forward Sal Olivas put the Union up by a 1-0 score, heading home a beautiful cross from C.J. Olney Jr., and giving them a lead they held until the break. LAFC equalized in the 34th minute through an own goal – Matthew Evans stabbed a ball back into the six-yard box during a chaotic moment, finding the back of the net via the leg of Union defender Daniel Krueger.
Parity lasted just three minutes, though. Forward Edward Davis forced a turnover in the penalty box, and he found Diego Rocío to stab home what turned out to be the eventual winner.
The Union weathered a late push from LAFC: goalkeeper Andrew Rick made a strong save from a corner kick in stoppage time to see out the win.